Donald Hendricks

Regained Independence

Donald Hendricks was healthy and thriving, enjoying his retirement in St. Marys, Georgia, when he suffered a home accident: he tripped over his bedspread and fell. At the time, he hadn’t even realized he’d injured himself until the next morning when he noticed that a softball-sized hematoma had developed on his right leg. As the injury worsened, it hindered his independence and required him to rely on family members for daily tasks. He even started using a walker.

“I didn’t think much of the injury at first—it didn’t even hurt! But when the hematoma burst, I became concerned and contacted my primary care provider,” says Hendricks. “She examined my injury and knew right away what was needed. She referred me to the Wound Care Center in St. Marys.”

Board-certified emergency medicine specialist, John Earl Long, M.D., Peyton Usher, R.N., and Kimberly Thomas, R.N., are three of the wound care specialists at the Health System’s Wound Care Center in St. Marys. They studied Hendricks’ condition and developed a specialized treatment plan to meet his needs.

“We used a variety of advanced modalities to treat Mr. Hendricks’ injury and timed them appropriately as his wound began to heal,” says Usher. “Once a week, we would examine his leg and use treatments such as negative pressure wound therapy, also known as a ‘wound vac,’ to fill in the wound, compression therapy to reduce his swelling, and toward the end, we used skin substitutes to bridge the skin together and encourage it to close.”

The Wound Care Center offers all of these advanced modalities—as well as Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy—in one practice, ensuring a continuity of care throughout the wound healing process. Not only is this especially important for treatment, but also for convenience. Many wound care patients struggle with mobility, so offering such care in one location in their home county is a huge perk. Without the Wound Care Center’s St. Marys location, many patients would be required to travel over an hour to receive the same level of care.

Southeast Georgia Health System was able to build the Wound Care Center at its Camden Campus thanks to funds generated through the Georgia HEART (Helping Enhance Access to Rural Treatment) program. Georgia is the only state that allows its residents to redirect their state tax dollars to benefit rural hospitals. The Camden Campus has qualified for the program for the last three years and has used the funds to help open a Wound Care Center and purchase innovative technologies, including the ROSA (RObotic Surgical Assistant) knee replacement system and life-saving 3D Mammography.

After seven months of treatment at the Wound Care Center, Hendricks’ wound healed, and his life returned to normal.

“I can do more now like I did before the accident happened, such as taking care of the house and cooking. I regained my independence,” says Hendricks. “Between Kim, Peyton and Dr. Long, they treated me very well and got me back on my feet. I’m off the walker and barely even need to use my cane at home.”

He adds, “I give their team a triple A in healing for the care I received at the Wound Care Center.”

If you’re suffering from a chronic, non-healing wound, schedule an appointment at the Southeast Georgia Health System Wound Care Center by calling:

  • Brunswick: 912-466-5350
  • St. Marys: 912-540-6802

Georgia residents who wish to redirect their state tax dollars to benefit the Southeast Georgia Health System Camden Campus may do so by completing and submitting a two-minute online form. Georgians are required to pay state taxes anyway; the Georgia HEART Hospital Program ensures that tax dollars are working to improve health care services in St. Marys for you, your loved ones and neighbors. To learn more, visit sghs.org/ga-heart.